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Kenny “The Rat” O’Donnell worked the usual rackets in New York.  Running numbers, strong arm work like shake-downs of strip clubs along the Northeast seaboard – burning them down if his protection money demands weren’t met.

Kenny was about to graduate into the bigs when he accepted a contract to kill a millionaire’s wife.  However, when he broke into her house and faced her in person, he couldn’t fulfill the contract and pull the trigger. In a scene that may be worthy of a movie-script, instead of shooting her, he broke the news that her husband had arranged the hit and drove her from the scene in his car.

Kenny was later arrested after the wife went to the the FBI with the tale of her experience.

Kenny was afforded Witness Protection status and named several participants in NYC-based organized crime enterprises, earning him the moniker “The Rat”.

In the late 1990’s Kenny attended the funeral of his grandfather – accompanied by Federal Marshalls, his protectors. Years later , and out of jail (perhaps released in error) Kenny visited his cousins and borrowed $4,000.

He has since disappeared into obscurity. Some think he is lying low in the Bronx – others think he’s sleepng with the fishes.

This whole story came up when someone talked about the reluctance armed people have for shooting another human being.

In our military, it is well-known that many soldiers ‘aim to miss’ and avoid killing enemy combatants.  Pulling the trigger on actual humans is much different than the paper targets used for marksmnship qualifications.  Another statistic I recall is that something like 40,000 rounds are fired for each enemy kill reported.

Gun handlers are naturally reluctant to use them to kill. The psycological nature of human beings prevents us from pulling the trigger – especially when the target is close.

Guns are instruments of terrible power, the use of which has terrible consequences.  Perhaps no one appreciated this more than we gun handlers ourselves.




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